Belgian Navy’s BNS Leopold I Joined EMASOH (European-led Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz)

Belgian Navy frigate BNS Leopold I (F930) joined Operation AGENOR, the military part of the EMASOH (European-led Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz). Leopold I (F930) is a Karel Doorman-class frigate of the Marine Component of the Belgian Armed Forces. Karel Doorman was taken out of service in 2006 and turned over to the Belgian Marine Component on 29 March 2007 where the ship was christened Leopold I, in honour of the first King of the Belgians. It is one of the two frigates of this class purchased from the Royal Netherlands Navy on 22 December 2005.

EMASOH was launched on the 20th of January 2020 by a joint European declaration of support and was fully operational on the 25th of February 2020. Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal are currently part of EMASOH – the European-led Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz.EMASOH aims to ensure a safe navigation environment, to contribute to deescalation and to facilitate an inclusive, regional dialogue in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. The mission consists of both a diplomatic track and a military track called AGENOR.

Belgian Navy's Leopold I Joined EMASOH (European-led Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz)
To remain alert it is important to train and exercise. This week FS Guépratte and BNS Leopold I conducted an exercise program that included; replenishment at sea, helicopter operations, and several navigational exercises.

The military presence under Operation AGENOR contributes to maritime security by monitoring the shipping lanes in the Gulf region, Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman. EMASOHs aerial and naval assets act in compliance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS. AGENOR is not against any specific nation or organization, but aims to provide assurance to merchant shipping through a de-escalatory presence. At the operational level, Operation AGENOR is led by a French Operation Commander with his Operational Headquarter, OHQ.

The current Operation Commander is Rear admiral Jacques Fayard. At the tactical level, there is a Task Force called TF474, currently led by a Danish Force Commander. The FHQ is staffed by a European team, currently including personnel from Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece and the Netherlands. The Task Force Head Quarter, FHQ, is placed at the French naval base in Abu Dhabi, supported by The United Arab Emirates. The diplomatic track aims to identify ways to de-escalate tensions and to promote confidence building in the maritime domain based on broad regional dialogue on maritime security.

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